Wednesday, February 27, 2008

You Can Sleep In If You Have a Private Plane

Two years ago Graham was in Harrisburg pleading poverty and asking the legislature for more money. You know it seems like only yesterday. Anyway, some legislators weren't impressed with Graham's mode of transportation (Archived copy via the Wayback Machine).

When the leaders of Pennsylvania's four state-related universities testified before the state Senate appropriations Committee on Tuesday, they all had a common goal: to convince the state Legislature that their schools need more state funding.

What they did not have in common is how they arrived at the hearing: Penn State President Graham Spanier was the only university president at the hearing who had traveled to Harrisburg that day on a university-owned aircraft.

Penn State operates two planes, Spanier told the state House Appropriations Committee last Wednesday during a part of the hearing in which representatives had questioned him about the university's attempts to keep costs down.

Spanier traveled by plane to Harrisburg to testify before both the state Senate and state House Appropriations Committees over the last two weeks in his effort to lobby for more state funding for Penn State.

Penn State spokesman Tysen Kendig said it would "not be uncommon" to have a driver come from Penn State Harrisburg or Penn State Hershey to meet Spanier at the airport in Harrisburg to take him to the Capitol.

"Obviously, he would need some mode of transportation to get from the airport to wherever he would need to go within the capital," Kendig said.

Graham flies to Harrisburg while some poor schlep makes the drives to pick him up at the airport. That seems oddly inefficient for a school which claims to be run very efficiently.

If Graham had jumped in the a car when it was leaving university park he would have made it to Harrisburg on time to testify. He would have saved the cost of the flight and he could have used his time in the car to catch-up on paper work or phone calls. Why wouldn't he want to do that? Probably because he didn't want to haul his lazy ass out of bed in the morning (Archived copy via the Wayback Machine).
Spanier also clarified a comment he made last fall suggesting that more afternoon and evening classes be offered to reduce the number of 8 a.m. classes. "We need to be a more student-centered university, and many college students seem to be creatures of the night," he said. "Why don't we acknowledge this and offer more classes in the late morning and afternoon and experiment more with evening classes?"
As they say, it's good to be king.

Now perhaps the University absolutely needs two planes. On the other hand, the whole Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is about to get by on only one.
Gov. Ed Rendell says the state's two-plane fleet will be reduced to one.

Mr. Rendell has suggested that selling state planes could save money since he first campaigned for governor in 2002.

Now the smaller, less-used of two planes, a 1982 Beech King Air 200, has been put up for sale.

Spokesman Chuck Ardo says the twin-engine turboprop has been valued by an appraiser at $1.4 million and is a good buy at an asking price $70,000 less than that.

Mr. Ardo said the administration does not expect any negative impact on travel scheduling.
It's probably time for Graham to bite the bullet too; Sell-off one of the University planes and start driving to Harrisburg and flying coach. I tell you what Graham, if I see in the airport I'll even give you a hand with your bags.

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